After watching the Kings turn the game over (25 turnovers) to the visiting Phoenix Suns at Sleep Train Arena, I got home in time to watch NBA.TV's postgame show with Matt Winer, Steve Smith and Shaquille O'Neal. When Winer asked his colleagues what "caught their eye" during Wednesday's games, Shaq paused, then replied, "DeMarcus Cousins."
"DeMarcus Cousins?" a surprised Winer responded.
"I see flashes of greatness," Shaq explained, "but I need consistency. Whenever I see something great, in my mind, I say, 'you need to do that all the time, not some of the time.' He is probably the most talented big man in the game. BUT he needs to show that every night."
In the 106-96 loss to the Suns, Cousins 15 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and two steals, to go with a team-high six assists. When his spectacular power dunk replayed on the screen, Smith added, "Let me tell you something ... that kid can be so good ...."
So a few final thoughts on an other blown opportunity:
• Sacramento mayor (and native) Kevin Johnson, a perennial All-Star during an NBA career that began and ended with the Suns, watched the game from his usual courtside seats. After another example of the Kings' lack of floor leadership/quality point guard play, a few courtside folks jokingly suggested that he yank on a jersey and rescue his hometown team. He just smiled.
• Cousins committed a team-high six turnovers.
• Rookie Thomas Robinson had his best game of the season, but he had a rebound taken out of his hands during a crucial second-half possession. Mental errors, lack of focus and a refusal to make the extra pass and the easy play continue to plague the team.
• Former WNBA star Ann Meyers subbed for Eddie Johnson on the Suns' telecast. When I mentioned that a lot of people around here miss the Monarchs and John Whisenant, she nodded forcefully, and added, "So do I."
• This makes it twice this week that Shaq has specifically praised something or someone related to Sacramento. During Monday's TNT telecast, he lobbied for Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison (he called him Ellis) to match the sale price the Maloofs accepted for majority interest from the Chris Hansen/Chris Ballmer group in Seattle. Now he goes out of his way to praise DeMarcus? Really, this comes as no surprise. Shaq had a blast during the Kings-Lakers rivalry years, particularly during the 2002 Western Conference Finals. All that drama and all that bantering. All that incredible basketball. He loved walking around downtown, chatting with Kings fans, and hanging out with former Sheriff Lou Blanas. And, come on. Dubbing the Kings the "Queens" was pretty hilarious.